Dickerson AME anniversary committee, 1988
Depicted in this photograph is the 1988 anniversary planning committee of the Dickerson A.M.E. Church of Frostburg. The Dickerson A.M.E. Church observed its 143rd anniversary on Sunday, March 13, 1988 at 5:30 p.m.
Left to right are Mrs. Dorothy Davis, Ms. Leticia Shelton, Mrs. Darlene Shelton, Robert Harper, Mrs. Josephine Harper, the Reverend Barbara Barbour, pastor of Dickerson A.M.E., and Nellie Small.
The church had been established in 1845, with the congregation having been named "Dickerson" in 1881 with the construction of its current building at the corner of West Mechanic and Pine Streets. The approximate cost of the building, including the pulpit and pews, was $800. On September 30, 1956, and following an extensive exterior remodeling, the Dickerson A.M.E. Church was rededicated with the burning of the mortgage being the main feature.
The following excerpt is from the Allegany Journal, February 21, 1990:
For Darlene Shelton of Frostburg who has been attending the African Methodist Episcopal Church ever since she was a 'baby', the intimate setting has kept drawing her back. Both her grandmother and mother attended the church and were active and now she sees it as part of her calling to keep the small congregation going. On good Sundays the normal number sitting in the wooden pews is about 14. The total membership of the church is 25. Many churches would consider consolidation at that point but not this one.
'I remember years ago there was talk about closing Dickerson', Shelton recalls. 'But my mother went down to Baltimore and told them we weren't closing our doors. Assistant Pastor Nellie Small recalls, 'At one time the church was always filled and in the Fifties the choir was so big they were invited to a state conference. Those years were outstanding', she says.
Leticia Shelton, one of the church's youngest members at age 25, has been playing the piano for the congregation for three years. 'There's a feeling of warmth here that you can feel from everyone. Everyone is willing to lend a hand if there is a need.'
Note: The Reverend Barbara J. Barbour was ordained an Itinerant Elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1983, and had been assigned in June 1986 as the pastor of Dickerson. The 1990 Allegany Journal article notes the arrival of Reverend Vivian Castain as an itinerant minister serving Dickerson in the tradition of the circuit-riding preachers. As noted elsewhere on this website, the Reverend Nellie Small passed away in 1997.
The Allegany Journal article was provided by Darlene Shelton.
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008